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Best dating apps: The new features to help you find love in the time of corona

Louise Whitbread
As physical meet-ups are off the table, get inventive with virtual dating instead: iStock

If you’re single at the moment, the chances are you’ve resigned yourself to not having an active dating life until things go back to normal, whenever that is.

But even though we can't go out to meet potential new love interests, that doesn't mean things have to be put on hold.

Of course, you can still use apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge to swipe through potential love interests, which has become even more popular as people now have more time on their hands to commit to it.

Tinder revealed it had a record three billion swipes last weekend, so there’s no shortage of people using them to pass the time.

In an attempt to keep things interesting under lockdown, dating apps are stepping up. Many apps are encouraging virtual dating as there's no chance of physical contact in the near future.

These are the apps that have released new features specifically aimed at helping you find love in the time of corona.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Tinder

The OG dating app is simple if you’re new to it. Sign up, complete your profile, set your age and distance limit (although not so relevant until lockdown is over) and start swiping.

When two people swipe right on each other and match, either one of you can start the conversation.

Who is it for? Straight and same-sex couples.

New updates: The app already has a paid-for "passport" feature, which allows you to match with people around the world. But Tinder has made this free until 30 April, so if all goes well with your match, you could find yourself planning a trip to wherever they're from in the world, once we can travel again.

But if you're struggling to make digital dates work, Tinder has also written a lengthy post about what it means to date in the age of coronavirus. It details how to keep the momentum going, including a Netflix or Zoom date, partner workouts or dinner delivered from your favourite takeaway.

Download Tinder for iOS now
Download Tinder on google play

Bumble

This is the dating app where women have to make the first move, which greatly reduces the amount of uninvited messages you’ll receive.

Once your profile is set up and you start swiping, when you match with someone the woman has 24 hours to message otherwise the match is deleted. The app is for same sex couples too, and in that case anyone can start the conversation.

Who is it for? Straight and same-sex couples.

New updates: Bumble has a built-in video calling and voice calling feature that its CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, is encouraging people to use and embrace a virtual date instead.

According to the app, it’s seen a 21 per cent increase in video calls over the past week.

You won’t need to share your email address or phone number either in order to use the video feature, so your personal information will stay private until you choose to share it.

Download Bumble on iOS now
Download Bumble on google play

Hinge

It describes itself as the app that's "designed to be deleted" and limits free users to liking just 10 profiles a day, although paying to upgrade will allow you unlimited likes.

There’s plenty of preferences you can set too, from politics, religion and family plans if you want to start seriously looking for a new partner.

Who is it for? Straight and same-sex couples.

New updates: It’s new "date from home" feature allows users to notify a match if you’re ready to chat over video or a phone call.

Don’t worry though, until both of you say you’re ready to talk it won’t show your response to them, and you can change your response before your match responds.

Download Hinge for iOS now
Download Hinge for google play

Coffee Meets Bagel

For a serious, more meaningful partnership, Coffee Meets Bagel allows you one match a day – with a focus on quality not quantity – to allow you time to get to know each other.

Be warned though, if the person you match with isn't for you, then you have to wait until the following day to be able to start chatting to somebody new.

Who is it for? Straight and same-sex couples.

New updates: To combat the anti-social aspect of self-isolating, the app has launched community meets ups where you can swap advice with other users on how to find romance amid the coronavirus outbreak.

It has changed the rule that chats disappear after seven days and instead they will remain open indefinitely for you to dip in and out of, as long as someone has spoken within the chat in the past three days.

Download Coffee Meets Bagel for iOS now
Download Coffee Meets Bagel for google play now

The League

Launched in 2015, The League is one of the newer dating apps to download.

Designed for working professionals, users are vetted based on their social media accounts before being allowed to become a member.

Once you’re signed up as a member, potential matches are known as "prospects" and the amount of users you have access to is based on the preferences you set for your area.

Who is it for? Straight and same-sex couples.

New updates: On Wednesdays and Sundays at 9pm, there’s a "league live" section which lets you swipe through video feeds of other people on the app near you, and you get a two minute timer to talk before deciding whether you like them.

Think virtual speed dating for a modern romance. Plus if nothing else comes of it, you'll end up with some fun stories to keep your coupled up friends entertained.

Download The League for iOS now
Download The League for google play now

Feeld

If you’re looking for something less serious, and maybe more than just one person, Feeld could be the app for you. All you need to do is set your location when you sign up to be connected with people or other couples in your area – although physically meeting up will have to wait.

The app is aimed at open-minded people, who are potentially looking for polyamorous relationships or who may be interested in kink.

It doesn't allow nudes or other explicit content and its full photo guidelines can be found here. If any pictures with nudity are detected, Feeld will not host them.

Who is it for? Couples and singles of all sexual and gender identitie​s.

New updates: As the current situation doesn’t allow for meet-ups, you can instead join any of its three virtual hubs within the app; quarantine, remote threesomes and the sext bunker.

Within them, you’ll be able to explore experimental micro-communities such as "Facetime foreplay" or "online orgasm control".

Download Feeld for iOS now
Download Feeld for google play now

Match

This was created to help you find a literal match and has quite specific preference settings to fill in when you create your profile, including height and body type.

While not relevant for the time being, it hosts singles events to encourage users to meet up offline too, so at least you'll have plans once the lockdown has lifted.

Who is it for? Straight and same-sex couples.

New updates: Match has launched a free hotline within the app for anyone struggling to navigate online dating under self-isolation.

Download Match for iOS now
Download Match for google play now

Listen to our podcast, Millennial Love In The Time Of Corona, for more on dating during lockdown

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